BSL Level 2

24 04 2008

I researched BSL Level 2 courses available in London. I thought, there must be loads. Boy, was I in for a surprise. No wonder ‘Deaf culture’ is in decline!

I found the following organisations advertising BSL courses – either on their websites or externally – and followed up the leads. The costs below are exclusive of the CACDP exam fees.

BSL Works Holborn
24 days (every fortnight, at weekends) : £1,000

City Lit
36 weeks Mon : £957
16 weeks Sat : £957

Deaf Access Bromley
6 weeks : Sat : £650

Dorothy Miles Cultural Centre
35 weeks : Thur : £495

Hackney County Council
36 weeks : Tue : £640

Jewish Deaf Association
51 weeks : Tue : £360

Lambeth College Clapham
1 year : Tue : £145

no information on website >>> BSL courses taken over by BSL Works

Merton College
30 weeks : Mon : £274

Only levels 3 and 4

2 weeks : £1,015 incl exam fees and accommodation
1-to-1 sessions : £20 an hour

Thomas Tallis School
no information on website and no reply to enquiries

Tri Uk Ltd
no information on website and no reply to enquiries

Waltham Forest
1 year : Tue : £333 incl exam fees



8 responses

24 04 2008

Yup! It’s pretty much the same story here. There are two colleges that offer serious ASL in my area. Both are an hour away and are geared towards interpreting school. They also cost a lot of money– over $400 per class. You can’t just take these courses at night after work. It’s really, really hard to become fluent in a language when the upper level classes aren’t available. You have to go out and practice with real Deaf people, some of whom HATE having their social hour interrupted by hearing or late-deafened students trying to learn ASL.

I have mentioned this lack in my own blog. ASL needs to become more readily available if the Deaf want hearing people to learn it or to use it with their Deaf kids. Some Deaf people chose to get into a fingerpointing snit, rather than discussing the real issue. It doesn’t matter whose fault it is that adequate ASL courses aren’t offered. Deaf people COULD do something about it.

I am one of the fortunate. An ASL course was established at a college only twenty minutes from me. I’ve taken four levels and my teacher is currently applying to teach three more at this college. With luck, I’ll be able to take the next few levels. (sigh)

I STILL suck at ASL, but my receptive skills are getting much better. Essentially I communicate in Pidgin Sign.

24 04 2008 - the one-stop pulse for all Deaf-related news and blogs.

[…] Minister Gordon Brown’s grilling by senior MPs on the Commons liaison committee. (93 clicks) BSL Level 2I researched BSL Level 2 courses available in London. I thought, there must be loads. Boy… Jim Dowd takes up the cause of users of British sign languageJim Dowd: To ask the Chancellor of the […]

25 04 2008

FOL – have you tried the CACDP centre database? Look it up at to find your nearest providers.

I am sure there are more places offering Level 2 in London than the list you have given.

25 04 2008

But why does deaf culture oppose free lessons as “Ridiculous” ? Couldn’t be because many deaf groups and charities charge ‘advisory’ fees could it ? As communication isn’t an and/or situation to deaf and HI people then why is it not funded free by the state to emancipate deaf people and encourage mainstream to take it up ? because without that only those who want to make a living out of deaf people are going to want to learn, this is NOT enablement, this is continuing dependency… as part of the UK’s access laws no charges should be levelled…

In a number of evening classes on sign language the LEA lists them as ‘Hobby classes’ along with flower arranging, they aren’t taking this seriously. There are many way the deaf could gain real equality and access, paying a £1,000 in fees to learn to talk to them doesn’t seem to be a positive one. The UK government also provides training schemes for the unemployed, so why aren’t deaf communication courses included as well ?

We read that 75% of people that start to learn sign language, drop out after stage I/II because they cannot afford to go any further, the waste is enormous…. both in state funding terms, and sheer wasted time and effort.

25 04 2008

Smarty – I actually started my research from the CACDP database. There are a lot of Level 1 classes but Level 2 & 3 classes are thin on the ground.

MM – Exactly the same has happened with lipreading classes. They’ve been reclassified as a learning skill rather than a life skill and therefore are now chargeable (like foreign language courses). They have now become far too expensive for most people, attendances are dropping and classes are closing nationwide. It’s a bl**dy shame. It’s not as if we can pick and choose whether we want to lipread well or not, sign well or not – we have no choice. In my opinion, these classes should be free for deaf / HOH people and chargeable to hearing people as it’s THEIR choice, not ours.

26 04 2008

I’ve mixed feelings about lip-reading, I think it IS a superior skill, that if deaf could master it, would reap huge advantages, it’s a lot harder to learn than sign language. However (!) UK Classes usually take the form of a few hours a week, a few months a year, in that context I think they do very little.

Another primary issue, is LR classes are NOT open to deaf people, but dominantly HoH… If Lip-reading is to have ANY real success with the deaf then we are talking school/education on a few days a week basis, combined with on-the-street experiences as well, since that, is where you are going to have to hone the skill, I’ve seen far too many attend LR classes and then are completely unable to hone it at all until the next lesson, this, is pointless.

LR associations also point-blank refused to put lessons online, saying “It’s not possible.. the technology isn’t there.” RUBBISH !

27 04 2008

Whilst lipreading is a useful skill for any deaf person to have, it is by no means SUPERIOR to sign language in my opinion as it has too many limitations.

For example, its of little use in group conversations, large meetings or when talking to mumblers (of which there are plenty out there). And as only 30-40% of English sounds are lipreadable its very difficult to do without the aid of being able to hear someone’s voice (through a hearing aid).

For a deaf person to be a good lipreader they need good English skills – you are not going to lipread a word you don’t recognise. That should be taken into consideration before giving formal lipreading classes to children.

29 04 2008

Smarty – you’re absolutely spot on.

MM – Lipreading classes, although only being a few hours a week, are very useful as the lipreader learns the *why* and the *how* of confusions etc, get to practise in a safe environment, ask the tutor questions, and gain an invaluable sense of belonging to a group where they can meet other people in the same boat. I’ve been lipreading all my life, and am still learning and practising – in the street, in daily life, every time I listen to a hearing person. It’s not something that can be learned in a few weeks, just during classes. Classes are certainly open to deaf people – with English skills, as Smarty says.

I’m a lipreading tutor myself and I can see that online media wouldn’t work as well as a real live lipreading lesson. I’ll try to explain why, very briefly.
Putting lessons online would be detrimental to the learner as it’s very hard to lipread 2-dimensional media, and the student would lose out on the value of lipreading other people in the class, learning from others in the class, learning from the tutor, gaining in confidence which is crucial to successful lipreading – all this would be missing from an online lesson.
There is lipreading media available from Forest Books – a video
but I have to say, there is no substitute for practising with and lipreading ‘real’ people.

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